Name: Lawrence Flitton
Organisation: Y2A Strategies
Lawrence Flitton is an accomplished leader in customer service and operations, with more than twenty-five years of experience driving performance in contact centers, field services, and internal support teams. Presently, he holds the position of President at Y2A Strategies, an operational consulting service provider to healthcare, financial services, and B2B technology clients.
Previously, Lawrence served as the Chief Operating Officer at ClearSource BPO, where he oversaw 1,500 employees across multiple international service centers. He has also held senior leadership roles at Landmark HW and Convergys, where he optimized customer service and claims processing operations through process excellence, productivity improvements, and technology innovation.
During his tenure as VP of Operations at Landmark HW, Lawrence achieved an improvement of twenty points in customer satisfaction scores and a reduction of sixty-one percent in field service repair time. He has led high-performance teams supporting leading brands in fintech, retail, home services, e-commerce, and technology, including PayPal, eBay, The North Face, Amex, Sunrun, and Microsoft.
Lawrence is a proponent of continuous improvement and utilizes methodologies such as Six Sigma, developing data analytics capabilities to gain operational insights. With his blend of strategic leadership abilities, customer-centric mindset, and a track record of elevating global support teams, he is recognized as an invaluable operations executive who is capable of driving transformational results.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Lawrence's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
One of the most challenging aspects I've faced as a leader is catalyzing lasting transformational change. While incremental improvements can be driven through processes and technology, truly evolving an organization requires tapping into hearts and minds.
An example was when I led a customer service turnaround and recognized that fundamentally shifting our culture to be customer-obsessed was vital. I involved teams in redefining our vision, values, and behaviors. We launched new feedback channels, training programs, CRM changes, website changes, reporting augmentation, and incentives. While results took time, we ultimately reduced attrition by improving customer NPS scores dramatically and enhanced operational efficiency by 26% through greater engagement.
Another challenge has been ensuring collaboration. Silos can derail progress. I find regular cross-functional meetings and clear stakeholder management essential. I have learned that leadership needs to nurture partnerships across IT, sales, and product groups. This has helped us rapidly deliver capability enhancements.
The most fulfilling challenges have focused on developing talent and enabling growth. Setting stretch goals, being a mentor, and sponsoring training helps unlock potential. Seeing my team members thrive is incredibly rewarding.
While leadership has many tests, it’s also extremely gratifying. I welcome the challenges as opportunities to make transformational, sustainable change and to help others excel.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Early on in my career, I didn't actively seek out leadership roles. However, my natural leadership abilities surfaced as I brought a creative and customer-centric perspective to my work. I also had a strong desire to streamline processes and drive positive change.
When I joined Landmark HW in a director-level position, I noticed that our systems and procedures were inefficient and negatively impacted the customer experience. With Six Sigma and COPC certifications, I am skilled in identifying and resolving process inefficiencies. I implemented minor improvements in my immediate work area, reducing friction and improving the customer experience.
My passion for delivering seamless customer experiences caught management's attention, and they entrusted me with more significant opportunities to revamp processes and revolutionize operations. Through this journey, I realized my true calling was leading teams to envision the possibilities. My leadership style is based on a fundamental belief that we can achieve remarkable outcomes by working collaboratively.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My days are planned with great care, with a single, integrated calendar that includes both personal and professional commitments. I treat every task and meeting with equal importance, adhering strictly to the schedule I've set.
What may be different than most managers is my dedication to family time, which I treat as the most important meeting of the day. This commitment is non-negotiable, and underscores the importance I place on maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Though I may occasionally work late or travel for business, I never let these things interfere with family milestones. In the evening, I wrap up my work, organize my workspace, review the next day's schedule, and set goals for the day ahead.
The day concludes with dinner with family or friends, followed by winding-down activities and a consistent bedtime. This structured approach not only supports my professional success, but also ensures that I lead a fulfilling and balanced life.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Looking back on my experiences, I have come to believe that effective and stable leadership requires a commitment to continuous self-reflection, learning, and adaptability. This is because the world of business, technology, and society is constantly changing, and leaders must stay up-to-date and be willing to adapt their strategies to these changes in order to succeed.
One of the most essential traits of a successful leader is the ability to learn from both successes and failures. By embracing an outward mindset and viewing challenges as opportunities for learning and improvement, leaders can become more resilient and agile. This, in turn, allows them to better guide their teams through change, navigate uncertainties, and foster innovation.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Out of all the books on business improvement that I have read, "Crucial Conversations" by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler stands out as a true beacon of wisdom. This book has had a profound impact on my leadership style, providing me with a comprehensive framework for navigating the intricacies of handling difficult conversations in the workplace.
The book emphasizes creating a safe space for dialogue and understanding different perspectives, reframing unproductive narratives, and approaching challenging situations with empathy and skill. The guidance on translating dialogue into action has played a pivotal role in implementing positive changes within my team based on the outcomes of crucial conversations.
Implementing the insights gained from "Crucial Conversations" resulted in a noticeable shift in team dynamics. I witnessed improved communication, heightened trust, and effective resolution of underlying issues, which contributed significantly to creating a healthier and more productive work environment.
"Crucial Conversations" has become an indispensable resource in my leadership journey. It has helped me become a better leader and provided valuable insights that I continue to apply whenever I encounter complex communication scenarios in my professional life. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to enhance their ability to navigate difficult conversations and create a positive impact in their workplace.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
For any aspiring young leader, my singular piece of advice would be to prioritize the cultivation of robust relationships and effective communication within the team. Leadership transcends mere decision-making; it revolves around inspiring and guiding a collective effort toward shared objectives. Ensure open and transparent communication, articulating expectations and goals clearly. Establish trust by embodying consistency, reliability, and honesty, fostering a two-way street where team members also feel trusted. Practice empathy, understanding the unique attributes and aspirations of each team member. Lead by example, exhibiting the behavior you expect, and encourage a positive team culture that supports growth and continuous learning. Lastly, stay humble, be receptive to feedback, and acknowledge that leadership is an ongoing journey of learning. This approach lays the groundwork for a successful leadership journey by prioritizing the quality of relationships within the team.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
One memorable experience from my time as a leader revolves around setting an audacious goal for my team, despite having uncertainties about how to achieve it. This particular challenge was riddled with roadblocks and pitfalls along the way to success. The audacity of the goal forced us to confront our limitations and pushed us beyond our comfort zones. Initially, the path forward was unclear, and doubts loomed large. However, fostering an open mind to all possibilities became our guiding principle. As a leader, I encouraged the team to embrace innovation, collaboration, and creative problem-solving. We held brainstorming sessions, welcomed diverse perspectives, and cultivated an environment where every team member felt empowered to contribute their ideas. The initial uncertainty transformed into a shared determination to overcome obstacles. Through collective effort and a willingness to explore unconventional solutions, we not only met the audacious goal but exceeded expectations. The journey was filled with valuable lessons, highlighting the importance of resilience, adaptability, and the strength of a united team. This experience reinforced the notion that, in leadership, challenges are inevitable, but with an open mind and a cohesive team, even the most audacious goals can be achieved. It remains a meaningful story that underscores the potential for growth and success in the face of uncertainty and adversity.